Get companion flights and travel rewards by using your credit card.
Some credit cards offer companion certificates or travel credits that you can use to pay for flights or incidental airline charges. You can offset the cost of the card’s annual fee by taking advantage of perks offered by travel credit cards.
Compare cards with travel credits or companion pass offers
How can I get a companion certificate or travel credit?
This depends on the card, and they usually have these perks listed in the terms and conditions. You can also call to find out how your card distributes companion certificates or travel credits. Possible ways include:
- An annual benefit. Many credit cards give you up until 12 months or the end of the calendar year to redeem travel credits. That means these benefits can’t be rolled over to be used the next year.
- An earned perk. In some cases, you have to meet a spending requirement, sometimes up to $30,000 a year, before you can use your flight or travel credit.
- By request. You may have to request a companion certificate before you can use it. This could take time, so make sure you make your request before the certificate expires.
- To use with an eligible travel partner. Read the fine print to see if your travel credit or companion certificate is limited to a specific airline.
Will redeeming a companion certificate cost me?
Yes. You’re responsible for paying taxes and fees — usually up to $99. Check with the airline you’re booking with to get the exact cost for your ticket.
What other features do these cards offer?
- Rewards points or frequent flyer miles. Most credit cards that offer companion certificates or travel credits also earn points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. Redeem these for flights, hotels, car rentals, online shopping and gift cards.
- Airport lounge access. Premium credit cards could also offer you airport lounge access to provide extra comfort during your trip.
- Travel insurance. This perk can help you save on travel insurance for your trip. You usually have to pay the entire trip with the card to qualify for travel insurance through the credit card. Check your credit card’s insurance policy for full details on how to activate it and what it covers.
- Purchase protection. Many of these credit cards offer insurance for items you buy with the card. Coverage can range from protection against accidental damage, theft or loss to extended warranties and price guarantees.
- No foreign transaction fees. Non-travel cards come with fees up to 3% of each transaction made abroad.
- Save on checked bags. This perk can save you up to $30 on your first checked bag on a one-way flight. Some travel cards even extend it to others traveling on your reservation.
- Welcome offer. Some cards offer welcome offers worth $500 or more. Typically you earn one by meeting certain purchase requirements. Once you receive the offer, you can usually redeem it for flights or other travel rewards.
How much do these cards cost?
The rates and fees for these credit cards play a huge part in their value. To work out if one will offer you top dollar for your money there are some key details to consider:
- Annual fee. Ideally, look for a card that has an annual fee worth the same amount as your companion certificate or travel credit so they cancel each other out. If that’s not the case, make sure the card’s other benefits are worth more than what you’re paying for the annual fee.
- Purchase interest rate. Cards that offer companion certificates or travel credit usually have higher standard variable purchase rates than other credit card options. Make sure you pay your balance on time to avoid your card costing more than it’s worth.
- Cash advances. If you use your credit card to get cash out, buy foreign cash, gamble or make any other cash advance transactions, you’ll likely be charged a cash advance fee worth up to 5% of the transaction.
Which cards offer companion certificates equal to their annual fee?
There are two cards out there that offer companion certificates worth the annual fee:
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. You get a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate every year you renew your card. You’ll only be on the hook for taxes and fees of no more than $75 for a round trip.
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. Earn a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate every year you renew your card. Taxes and fees of no more than $75 for a round trip are still required.
The value of companion certificates or travel credits vary based on the flights or travel you choose. Other perks could add value, but general travel cards could better suit your travel style.
Start by comparing options based on your spending habits and what you want to get out of the card. Remember to check the eligibility requirements and conditions around the voucher before you apply.
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